tv Pedestrianism in 19th Century CSPAN August 18, 2014 6:36pm-7:38pm EDT
and that becomes important in being a man, because if i have a charity in my soul or the wisdom to recognize goodness in people, then i'm a man, a man of god, a man of trying to do the right thing. therefore, nothing you can do or say to me will change my attitude about my manhood. over the years, the biggest problem that we have had in this country is whenever you stand up for the right thing, even though it's for the overall populous, people take the attitude that you are a racist or they call it an opposite racist. so i wanted to make that point, because when you say where are we today, well the one guy that i depend on most, young man that just won the super bowl and who is a tremendous human being and
has gotten through some troubled times and understands what we are doing is ray lewis. ray, i think, can be the leader of a lot of these young individuals who need that leadership, who want to learn what to do and how to participate in making tremendous change within this country. i thought i would interject that. >> there is no question that every generation has to develop its own leadership. i think that we can -- people of our generation can do the analysis and tell them about what happened in the past and where we think they are. but ultimately, it's going to have to be this generation that's going to have to take the leadership and responsibility. let me ask, i know that -- because we are running short here. let me ask this. i know that progress many times is a lot like the concept of profit. it really comes down to who is
keeping the books. and so in looking at where we are, how much progress have we actually made in sports given the fact that we are down to 8% african-americans in baseball, from 21% in 1973. the heavyweight division of boxing is just about wiped out. i remember a time when there was ali and frazier, norton and george foreman and patterson and jimmy ellis and swrim jimmy young and torrell and big cat cleveland williams, and larry holmes couldn't break into the lineup because he was a sparring partner. today, you couldn't find 2 people in 100 in an african-american community who could tell if you there was a black heavyweight contender
around now. when you look at the fact that the nba is one-quarter foreign born, we are losing spots there. how much progress have we actually made? where are we in terms of that concept? >> harry, i'm going to jump in there because i think a simple way i can say that jimmy carter, president carter, experienced yesterday was almost everything you need to know about progress, about heart, about honesty and about the future. he is on top of it in every way. so i would say to all of america, if you can get a tape of the jimmy carter presentation of yesterday at that affair is unbelievable. [ applause ] >> there's a movement going on now about unionizing college athletes. i'll be very interested in both of your opinions in terms of this unionization effort.
it's just starting. i think people are looking around for an opinion, a disposition, a perspective on it that they can kind of understand and wrap their minds around. jim? bill? >> bill, you want to take this? >> for me, i have this phrase that i use. all great fortunes are amassed with either cheap or slave labor.pqrñ and so the ncaa is one group everybody is focusing on. they have this money machine. and to keep it this way, the labor force has to be free or
very low wages. that's why you look at a lot of the great companies in this country, and they pay their labor -- they can't afford to go to the place where they work. i know when i was a rookie 100 years ago, the average salary in the nba was $5,000. that's not even meal money now. in the middle '60s, we struck the all-star game, the 20 top players in the league got together and struck an all-star
game to form the union. the owners said, no way. we are not going to do that. so we said, okay. there will be no all-star game. abc television said that if you want us to televise, you get your players on the floor. they said, let's talk to them. so they said, we don't want to lose face. what we will do is if you will play the all-star game, at the end of the year, we will recognize the union. so they vote 11-9 to play. and we played the all-star game. so at the end of the year we went in to talk to the commissioner.
he said, i recognize the players association. but we do not have anything to talk about. i'm not going to talk to you about anything. so our lawyer said, i will see you in september. that's the beginning of the next season. the commissioner said, the playoffs start next week. oh, no. we're not going to play the playoffs. what we knew then was our contract was for the regular season games only, not preseason, all-stars or playoffs. so, well, we will see you next september. the playoffs is where everybody got well. you almost doubled the price of tickets and you sold out every game. they saw the revenue going out the window. so they said, okay, we will talk
to you. what do you want to talk about? so we had a list of things that we had to change. one of the things that we knew was baseball was the only sport that had antitrust exemption. the rest of us had -- the rest of sports had to go through antitrust laws. so all the grievance with the nba now are based on collective bargaining agreements. >> will that work at college? is that a model for college? is that something that these young athletes should be looking at? >> i'm going to simplify it. i'm totally against a union in college. i don't like the ncaa. i think it's a greedy
organization, dictatorial organization, an organization unfit to the players. players can't even get enough money to bring their parents to a game. on the other hand, i think that we have all gotten away from the value of education. and the value -- [ applause ] so i'm an advocate of, let's go back to four years of college. [ applause ] let's graduate, and then let's choose to play basketball, football, whatever, or not. as you know, there's a very low percentage of individuals that make the professional teams. but everybody can get that scholarship, can get a college education. so we have to re-emphasize education and the value of it. because that's going to really be the ingredient that's going to make the change.
it's not going to be a struggle between the ncaa and the union and all that. that's strictly money. >> yeah. >> as we know with these players today that we have, millionaires, over 2/3 of them go bankrupt within 3 years. so it can't be the money. so we put the value back on education and making that dedication to your college and let the ncaa support that with giving the players a right amount of money so they can live a decent life while they get a great education. [ applause ] >> we are running short here. i do want to ask you about one other thing. how close are we in athletics in this country to really measuring people, evaluating people based upon a content of their character and the caliber of
their competence as opposed to what they are and who they are? we have a situation now where we have active athletes saying, i'm gay. jason collins, harris, used to be with the 49ers, certainly mike sams, brittany granier. there's another -- a young man who played ncaa championship game, the first active division athlete to say, i'm gay. how close are we to putting this madness behind us about evaluating people based upon these -- all of these secondary inconsequential things as opposed to the content of their character and the caliber of their competence? how close are we to that in
accepting that in the nfl or -- >> you want that one? >> what i will say is the first athlete you heard about coming out as gay, ask me, how would you feel about playing with a gay player? and i had one question. can he play? [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> the caliber of his competence. >> right. that's all. jim -- >> i can't add to that. >> what? >> i cannot add to that. >> oh. >> okay. we're good. >> we'll leave it alone. >> jim was a professional in the most macho of all american sports, and it seems to me, it may not be a good correlation,
but a lot of questions they asked about gay athletes were essentially the same questions they used to ask about us, black athletes. >> absolutely. [ applause ] >> you know? >> but isn't it a simple situation? we have laws in this country, and we try to abide by laws. we have different denominations. we have different races, et cetera, gender. and if you're a law-abiding citizen and trying to do the right thing, then how can anyone else judge you? i think it's that simple. you know, i can't get into the religious aspect of it, to the sexual aspect of it, that i look for the, as you said earlier, the character of a person. and that's good enough for me because i have my own things i got to deal with.
>> yeah. i don't have the answer to everything. >> we're getting pretty close to the end here, and typically at this time, you know, is when th know, typically, we've asked how you want to be a member or one thing or the other. i have researched that and i looked at 31 people who said how they want to be remembered. and when i actually read the follow up, not one of them were remembered the way they said they wanted to be remembered. so we won't waste our time with that bit of morbid wishful thinking. but i do have a couple of last questions for you. we've gotten pretty serious here. i think that this wonderful audience deserves a little chocolate shake with their broccoli. so let me ask, first, bill, you. a question i've wanted to ask
you for the last 45 years, just between you and me, i mean, 11 nba championships in 13 seasons. i mean, i look at this thing where lebron james comes out and says when they put up mt. rushmore, they left you off. it's reallyrushmore, it's mt. russel. but i do have a question. 11 championships 234in 13 yooea 13 seasons. but the question i've been wanting to ask that's been mind boggling me is what happened to the other two? [ laughter ]
>> well, all right. i took the title 12 times. one year, i had a severe sprained ankle and i wasn't able to play. and we lost. but i very rarely bring that up. i'll tell you why. that's a team game and my team lost. because it was a team game, i'm also going to say about these boys, my team won. so i give them credit for beating us. >> so them last two, you just lost. >> yeah. >> okay. all right. >> it's hard to talk about yourself, but i can talk about you.
11 championships were proceeded by the common tell nominator. you. a team sport means that you are a team. everyone has a responsibility and you win together. not mile cam jordan being acrobatic or lebron james being a freak of nature. but do your contribution make a success to the game. we know you're the greatest contributor. and the object of a team is to win a team championship. >> winner. that's the definition of it. that's my man.
>> there hasn't been a greater contributor in any sport. the goal. >> i know. i know. let me -- i have a question. jim, you're an actor, you've produced a number of successful musical groups, of course, you understand the politics of the entertainment industry and how much mileage you can get out of a form such as football and so forth. so i have a question for you. just in the end here. i really value your judgment on this. president barack obama went to the yumpblts of north carolina and played basketball, the championship basketball team. leading up to his second
election, he famously channelled al greene's "i'm so in love with you." i mean, it became the number one fallen ringer across the country after that. i have a question for you. do you think it would have projected the same cachet, charisma and cool say he had been into bowling? and had channeld glep campbell's wichita alignment? just as a guy who understands the entertainment part of this thing? >> i'm speechless. >> anybody else would have been, too. >> i don't know how to answer that. and i almost don't know what to talk about. >> all right. okay.
>> well, we're down to the last 15 seconds. >> to my best friend, and a guy i've known for 50 years. i have no business being here. but i thought it was such an honor for me to be invited. all i've ever tried to do in my adult life is to make my daughter proud of me. and we were, my father died a few years ago. when he was 75. when he was 75, he says to me, you know i love you.
and that was the first time he ever said that. and he says and i'm proud of you. and that's the first time he ever said that. he said i'm proud that you're my son. and i'm proud -- just as proud that i'm your father. and that was my hero. you know? i'll tell you a quick story. >> we've got zeros on the clock. it's got to be quick. >> i got my first hundred thousand dollar contract and i called my father and said you don't have to work anymore. i make enough for both of us. and his reaction was i don't want your damn money. he said i got my own money.
and he's working in a foundry. i said that's a terrible job. why don't you give it up? >> he said listen, i've given these people 35 of the best years of my life. now i'm going to give them a few of the bad ones. >> it has been a tremendous honor for me to share this stage with two of the greatest men. i won't say it, basketball player, football player. those are things that you just happen to be the best in the world at doing. but two of the greatest men, two of the greatest citizens of this country that i've ever had the pleasure of being associated with. let me thank you very much. >> tonight, american history tv explores the overland campaign.
a series of major battles that took place in virginia in 1864 between union forces under ulysses s. grant. watch the commemoration ceremonies marking the beginning and the conclusion of the overland campaign. as well as a look at the battle of cold harbor, the campaign's final major conflict. that's all tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. next, on american history tv, author talks about american pedestrianism when walking was america's favorite sport. competitive walking became the most popular sport inmajor cities including new york and philadelphia.
the new yorklic library who hosted this hour-long event. >> i thank the new york library for hosting this event and i'd like to thank s-span3 who will be recording the event. so i wrote most of this book while i was living in mongolia. just a little background about myself and how the book came about. i went to college in philadelphia. i'm originally from philadelphia. and i went to university of pennsylvania and majored in english for a semester. i found out i didn't really like
to read fiction. i've always preferred non-fiction. so since i didn't like to read it, i wouldn't read it and i got a d in freshman english and i thought maybe that's a sign i should try another field. and so i switched my major to folklore. any other folklore majors here today? folklore was actually a great training. when i graduated in 1988 it may surprise you, but back then, there within the as many folklore jobs. so i moved to seattle and that's where i drifted into public radio. back then, it was more like a welfare program for people with folklore degrees.
it was very helpful, as well, in teaching me how to research and write clearly and concisely. so i bounced around a bunch of different public radio stations. i worked in minnesota. i worked in st. louis, that's where i met my wife. we were married and then i went to work for a public radio called marketplace, a business news program. quince dentally, 2003 was also the year that allison took the foreign service exam to attempt to become a foreign service officers and passed. she was on a hiring list for almost two years when allison got an e-mail saying if you'd like to join the foreign service, you need to move to
washington in two weeks. so we had a decision to make, rather quickly. at the time, i had a good job at marketplace, allison was still looking for work. so if we took the job, she would have a job and then i wouldn't. this didn't bother me, in the least. so we took a vote and it was 1-1. about whether or not i should quit my job. eventual eventually, though, she came around and i it gave me time to write books. i guess that's my niche. i write the definitive books about things that probably don't need to have definitive books written about them. but it's more -- it's been a lot of fun. it's been extremely nonlucrative.
it has given me something to do as we travel about. usually i do my research in washington. we're based in washington between foreign assignments. so i can get all the research done at library of congress. in the first book i wrote, which i actually wrote in the capitol of bali in west africa. the first book i wrote was a book called kwt last team standing" and it was about the 1943 merger of the steelers and the eagles. during world war ii, the national football league was so short of players that they had
to merge the steelers and the eagles and they became the steegles for a season in 1943. and the steegles were sort of a misfits bunch, you know, the quarter back had a perforated eardrum, the center was deaf in one ear, the receiver was blind in one eye and that sort of thing. and, yet, against all odds, they had a successful season. you can buy the book. it's in paperback. and it was while i was researching the steegles book that i we believe the back and look at the history of spectator sports in the united states. i'm always kind of interested in that. sort of how did we get to this point? it's like the sports insdus ral complex today. multi-billion dollar business. cities build 00 drid, two hundred million dollar stadiums often funded by taxpayers just to keep these teams in town.
i knew it wasn't always like that and i was curious how it got to be like that. it was really the most popular spectator sport in the united states for a very brief period of time in the 1870s and 1880s. and it really began in 1860. there was a guy named edward westin, and he was a door-to-door book salesman in boston. and he made a bet with a friend in the autumn of 1860 on the outcome of that year's presidential election. westin bet that lincoln would lose. spoiler alert, lincoln wins. to fulfill the terms of the bet, it was an unusual bet. the loser had to walk from boston to washington in ten days and arrive in time to see the
inauguration. now, this was a really arduous undertaking in 1861, the inauguration was in march of 1861. i'm sure it's no walk in the park today, either. i wouldn't recommend taking the interstate. but he walked from boston, set out on february 21st. and, of course, the words were terrible and it was the middle of winter. outside the major cities, there were really no paved roads. in some places, you barely had more than a dirt path to tell you where to go. there were no reliable maps to speak of, basically. when he got to a town rngs he would ask how do i get to the next town. but this attempt to walk from boston to washington really captured the public's imagination. it fascinated people.
for a couple of reasons, not guilty a lot of good news in the papers. so westin's walk was really kind of a feel good, human interest story. and as it progressed, as he made his way south, huge crowds would turn out in new york, trenton, philadelphia. just to watch him walk through town. people would wait for hours in the cold. waiting to see westin. he was a pretty shrewd businessman, too. he had made a deal with a sewing company to hand out advertising fliers to sell them along the way. so he got them to sponsor his trip. so he would hand out these fliers and go on his merry way. the unfortunate end to the
story is that he didn't make it in time. he was four hours late for the inauguration. nonetheless, he was very famous. he was also kind of a schemer. he finagled an invitation to one of lincoln's innaug ral balls and actually met lincoln. although he had bet on lincoln to lose, lincoln harbored ill will and offer today pay his train fare back to boston. but the civil war intervened and it wasn't until 1867 that westin atempblted another walk. and this time, it was a walk from portland main to shi can goal. and he had made a $10,000 wager that he could walk from portland to chicago in less than 30 days. and, again, this was considered prablgtically impossible. at the time. he succeeded and won the bet.
an estimated 25% of the population of the city was waiting to meet him. another huge sensation. and this really solidified westin's reputation as a celebrity. a celebrity athlete. and he was just westin, the walker. the name westin became synonymous with walking. he was a clever guy. so after this, he decided to take his act indoors. in the early 1870s, roller skating became a popular sport. it was a fad, really. general sherman was a big fan. anyway, they began building rinks where you could skate. so westin became exhibitions in these roller ripgs. walking against time, he would attempt to walk 100 miles in 24 hours.
he'd pull into town, hire a band and do these walks. and thousands of people would come, pay 10 cents a piece just to watch westin walk in circles on the floor of these roller rinks. i mean, sometimes the lap was so small, it was 50 laps to a mile. but he just walked continuously. he was able to function with very little sleep. this proved lucrative. the most famous was an irish immigrant from chicago, a guy named daniel oleary. quince dentally, he had been a door-to-door sales man until the fire of 1871 in chicago. that really reduced the man for guilt-edged versions of the bible. he had to walk great distances out to the suburbs to try to
sell books. when he heard about what westin was doing, he thought, well, i can do that. so he rented a rink in chicago and walked a hundred mile ins 23 hours. and then westin did it in 22 hours. soon, it became apparent that these were the two leading pe desz rans 234 the united states and it was time for a showdown. i call them the ali and the fraser of their age. westin was the character. he liked to perform wearing ruffled shirts and velvet jacket. he always carried a cane. sometimes he played coronet while he walked. he really understood that the event was more about athletics, it was about entertainment. that he was there to entertain the crowd. oleary on the other hand, would have none of that. he just wore a traditional,
tight cotton pantwants and cott shirt and looked straight down at the track. wouldn't even acknowledge the crowd. he was always focused, i guess they could say. so he was kind of the joe fraser on the comparison. but in november of 1875, it was finally decided that we need to have a competition to determine the world's champion pedestrian. never mind that it was between two americans. but we still call it the world series. so that's never stopped us from deciding that we had the world champion. and it took place in chicago. interesting venue. the chicago exposition building. it was erected right after the great fire. it was the largest public venue. you could fit five football fields inside. since it was so big, it was
decided that this was the largest place to hold this great walking match. and the rules were pretty simple. six days was as long as any athletic contest could take because, at the time, there were blue laws that prohiblted public amusements on the sabbath. and so you couldn't walk competitively on sunday. i don't know whether this was a good thing or not, but that's the way it was. so the races would begin right after midnight, sunday night into monday morning, and they would continue pretty much nonstop right until midnight the following night. sometimes they began a little late. generally, it was six full days. in this match in 1875 between oleary and westin, oleary won and he was declared world champion pedestrian. he was not gracious in defeat
and claimed that oleary had a home field advantage he said he had been threatened that somebody said threatened to shoot him, these sorts of things. none of these reports ever really panned out. but westin was quite chagrin and decided to take his act to london where he started staging these walks against time again. the british, just like the americans, were fascinated by westin to walker and would come out and watch him walk for hours or even days at a time. eventually, this format of the six-day race kind of was formalized. and there would be large stage competitions staged. the entry fee would be ten. later, it was raised to a hundred dollars to discourage specklators. you know, people who thought they could walk 500 miles in six days, but really couldn't.
so you would have 15, 20 competitors taking part in a six-day race. again, the same rules, sunday night into monday morning, they would take off. a dirt track would be laid on the floor of the arena. about a seventh of a mile or an eighth of a mile. a team of judges would keep track of the laps. the rules were fairly strict. one part of the foot had to be on the ground at all times. this was walking. a stage was built by pt barnum in 1874. barnum, when he named it, he did it in his typical, low-key way. he natured it grand roman
hippadrome. it was actually open air. there were about 10,000 seats total. >> this is the first madison square garden i'm talking about. the current one that opened in 1868 is the fourth madison square garden. but they keep calling it madison square garden, even though it keeps moves parter and farther away for madison square, which must confuse some tourists, anyway. the races in madison square garden were the most popular six-day races.
and now we're in the golden age of pedestrianism. really, 1879, 1880, 1881. madison square garden seated about 10,000 people and it would sell out every night. since the races were continuous, people would come and go throughout the day. so we don't really know how many people in total would watch one of these six day races. but it's possible they might have had 20 or 30,,000 people go through the turn tile every day. that was one of the appeals of the sport, actually. it was continuous. at the time, you had millions of people moving into the cities. my grags, people from the country side, immigrants, all pouring into the city. especially new york.
if you can imagine that, i would say we'd probably have an entertainment surplus now. back then, there was an entertainment deficit. the average working person was very lucky to make a dollar a day. maybe 50 cents would be more likely sochlt there wasn't a lot for working people to do. a ticket to one of the great walking matches might cost 10 cents or a quarter. and not only that, because it was continuous, if you worked a shift and got off at 11:00 p.m. or 7:00 a.m., you could stop by the great walking match and watch it for a couple hours with a couple beers. if you wanted to, you could buy a ticket on monday and stay all six days and a sandwich cost about 10 cents. so, basically, for a dollar, you
would have a warm place to stay for a week and at least one meal a day. they also 10sold a lot of beer. everybody says it must have been so boring. so boring just watching people walk in circles for days at a time. the only thing that i think could be more boring is listening to somebody talk about people walking in circles for days at a time. but i will not talk for six days. i do assure you that. but these events, and, look, we have had some really boring superbowls. i think we can all agree on that. we've had some really boring superbowls, but everybody watches. you don't only watch for the commercials, you watch for the
halftime show where something unusual will happen and that sort of thing. there were vendors selling everything from roasted chestnuts to pickled eggs raw oysters. i wouldn't recommend buying those, but there was all sorts of things. and for working people, especially, it was a rare opportunity to take part in something that was this spectacular. and that was this famous on the front page of every newspaper the next day. i walked to a phillies game last week in philadelphia at the new stadium. these stadiums are designed to give you something to do besides watching a baseball game. they have, like, arcades for the kids and there's restaurants and bars and it's basically they've
admitted it's a boring sport. but you're paying $28, we'll give you something to do. and that was a little bit the case with pedestrianism. james blane attended walking matches. chester arthur was a huge fan. stop me if you recognize any of these names. tom thumb was a big pedestrianism fan. not literally. but he enjoyed pedestrianism a lot. and i guess was fairly easy to spot in the crowd. i don't know how. but world would get around that tom thumb was in the arena. at one point, there were riots. people rioted to get into pedestrianism maps.
there was a riot in new york where they oversold tickets to the match and people still gathered outside trying to get in at midnight, sunday night. and they heard the roar of the crowd and began storming madison square garden. and there was a very famous police captain, alexander williams. his nickname was clubber. so you can deduce from that what you want. but clubber decided that he had to beat back these people who were trying to invade the garden and people say it was the worst riot since the civil rights act in 1964. the pedestrians themselves became the first celebrity athlete in the united states. their pictures appeared on the early trading cards. daniel oleary, the irish
immigrant from chicago, he was a spokesman for a gram of salt. there were corporate sponsorships. i mentioned westin would sell ads as he walked. many pedestrians were sponsored by newspapers and would compete with the logo of the newspaper across the fropt of their shirt@ it also had struck a cord with people not just because there wasn't anything else to do. that was a big part of the appeal with so little entertainment. but the idea of walking to the average american in the 1870s and 1880s is very different than it is today. everybody walked.
a good horse might cost $150. i just imagined everybody had horses. nobody had horses. 99% walked. there was some public transportation, especially in new york and philadelphia. but, by enlarge, people walked. people had had to walk long distances in the middle of the night to fetch a doctor or maybe on a snow we morning to get to church. people related. there was a kind of empathy. also, they were admired for their endurance. in a typical race, pedestrian might be on the track walking for 21 out of 24 hours.
there would be small tents placed inside the track and there would be a cot in there and that's where they would rest. a lot of them had trainers. these trainers were really there just to make sure that they didn't sleep too much or would throw cold water on them or beat them with sticks to try to get them back on the track. a lot of times, the trainers were financed by gamblers who wanted to make sure that their guy stayed on the track. so it was really an exercise in sleep deprivation. i have a theory that i get in the book and glorious in amazing detail. most of us are monophasic sleepers. we just sleep once a day. you know,6-8 hours.
margaret thatcher said i only slept four hours a day, but, yeah, you took a two hour nap every afternoon. so it all evened out. some of you who sleep right now are probably biphasic sleepers. but the pedestrians were mostly polly phasic. this is a real thing, you can train yourself to sleep in 45 minute increments several times throughout the day. 23 you're able to fall into rem sleep quickly, you're as rested as if you slept 6-8 hours a night. i think it was a physiological quirk that some of these guys had that they were able to function on very little sleep. every time you laid down to take a nap, everybody else on the track was making more laps. and either catching up with you or extending their lead.
you didn't want to sleep very much when you were in a six-day race. there were all kinds of strategies. it was interesting, by the fifth or sixth day, that's when the attendance really got exciting. now, the guys are just sleep deprived, dirty, smelly. they didn't have the modern sports medicine. the diet generally consisted of mutton, which i've had a lot of in mongolia, now that i think about it. raw beef stake. one guy's favorite was greasy i asked allison if she would try to make this and she said no. actually, they thought champagne was a stimulant that would help them. so they were drunk, dehydrated,
suffering from sleep deprivation, you get tunnel vision, actually, apparently when you don't have enough sleep. so later in the race, they would take chalk dust and mark a line along the middle of the track so everybody could just look at that line, stay on that line. don't go anywhere else. often, competitors would collapse. at the end of the race, and dan oleary was one, he would be so utterly exhausted, he was unable to walk and they would carry him back to his hotel. westin, on the other hand, when he ended a race, he was usually in pretty good place. the race would end on saturday night and he went to church the next morning. it affected different races in different ways.
the sport also opened doors for women and african americans in way that is had never been done before. african americans would compete on an equal field. if you were unable to do it, you were given a time to do it. women raced, too. there were six-day women's races. the women, though, they had a special problem because the victorian guilded age conventions of the time demanded that they wear full-length skirts or dresses. usually of kind of a heavy velvet. god forbid we see their shapely calves.
so while they did race, the women's races were quite popular, as well. they were at a disadvantage, let's just put it that way. in 1880, it looked like pedestrianism would last forever. it really was de facto america's national past timement but several things happened that led to its demise. one, there were gambling scandals. as it became more popular with the public, it also became more popular with the gamblers. you could wager on who would be the first one to drop out, who would finish last. so many different ways. so some of the western pedestrians would collude with gamblers and fix races. agree to be the first one to drop out.
bookie takes the bets on it and then splits the winnings with pedestrians. there were also drug scandals, performance-enhancing drugs. it's just so good that we've eradicate that had from modern sports. but in 1876, edward westin was caught chewing coca leaves. he said he only did it on his doctor's orders, which is a pretty standard excuse these days. i didn't know what i was taking, basically, was his excuse. but the biggest downfall, two things, really, contributed to the downfall of pedestrianism. and one was in 1885, there was an englishman natured john
starley. he invented a machine called the modern rover. before that, bicycles had a ginormous front wheel and a tiny little back wheel. these were not nimble machines. but the safety bicycle, with the two same-sized wheels, these were fast and these were nimble and they were a lot more fun to watch race for six days than people walking. it was almost instantaneous. the bicycles, especially at the end of six days, when they were all out of it, ted be crashing into each other and this was very spectacular. a lot of fun. nobody goes to races to see crashes anymore, either.
so a lot of these races were really pioneered. the monetarization really turned it into a money-making machine. at its height in 1879-1880, a pedestrian could win and usually they got a percentage of the gate receipts. there was a guy who won $20,000 for winning a race at madison square garden, which would be about 400$400,000 today. it was not bad for six days work. it was very lucrative for a very brief period of time. unfortunately, many of the pedestrians died penniless.
again, you don't see that anymore with professional athletes squandering their welt. so pedestrianism set a lot of standards, both good and bad. really, by 1890, pedestrianism was all but dead. it was also killed by baseball. it was really a rag tack operation. teams would quit the season half way through. why take the road trip to st. louis, let's just go home. so in the 1880s, the baseball owners got together and said we need to organize this thing. so the first thing they did was impose a salary cap of $2500 a season: they also imposed a notorious observe clause.
you could never be a free agent. you could only be traded or released. this persisted until about 1975, the reserve clause. it was a very controversial thing. it really solidified baseball. and by 1890, the national league had eight teams and only one of those teams is not still with us. but the other teams, and i have to write them down, braves, dodgers, philly, pirates and reds, they were all in the national league in 1890 and they're all still in the national league now. so baseball really replaced pedestrianism as a popular sport along with bicycle racing. baseball suddenly became a fad and eventually became engrained
in the american consciousness as a national past time. as they like to call it. i talked a little bit about the etch thi? it was on the internet, so it has to be true. recently, there was a study that the average american takes 1,517 steps ada. mostly going to the copy machine. that's about half what's recommended. it's about five miles, for good hemt. and we really don't node how many step it is average american took in the 1870s or 1880s. but i did find one study that says in north carolina, the average housewife